If I’ve been quiet it’s because I’m currently visiting my homeland in the Pacific Northwest, soaking in the endless summer evenings and earthy forest smells. I’ve eaten my body weight in wild berries and gotten to catch up with family and friends, the main point of it all.
So many hikes. So many dog walks.
Secret swimming hole where the water runs deep, crystal clear and not too cold.
I popped in to Nada, the zero waste grocery store in Vancouver’s Fraser hood and scored this fancy jar from the free bin. During my visit, a number of non-zero waste friends brought it up in conversation. Lovely place and staff.
This habit tricks everyone into thinking my eight month old shoes are box fresh.
Last November I bought a pair of Stan Smiths. When you have size 11 feet it’s not straightforward to find secondhand, or get your hands on a pair of Veja’s (believe me, I tried). With some help from the Good On You app, I settled on Adidas.
I wear these nearly everyday. I wear them to work. I bike in them. Earlier this year, they were the perfect shoe for three days of 15km walks around Tokyo. Still, I get asked all the time if they are new.
My secret is that once a month I wash the laces.
As you can see in the before shots, after lots of use, they don’t look so fresh. Look closer and you’ll notice it’s mostly the laces that are driving this bad first impression.
Good thing cleaning shoelaces is easy and quick. I remove the laces, wet them and wash them with a scrap of olive oil based bar soap.
When they rinse clean, I hang them to dry overnight before relacing.
While that’s happening, I give the shoes a wipe with a rag and use a coconut coir brush to scrub the visible rubber part of the soles back to a reasonable level of clean.
And voila! Back to brilliance. Do you clean your shoelaces?
This is the story of three pairs of jeans, two broken zippers, countless holes and one responsible denim company: Nudie jeans. Nudie has fixed my jeans over and over again, for free.
This is not a sponsored post whatsoever. I paid princely sums for two pairs and scored a third for cheap at a sample sale. I overpay for this denim because Nudie’s Skinny Lins fit me perfectly and are made with GOTS certified organic cotton. Good On You rates them ‘Good’, so tick. You can even have a browse of where and how their clothes are made.
I’m a repeat Nudie customer because I know I’ll be wearing them for a long time, by virtue of quality and repair. Production is such a significant part of a garment’s overall environmental footprint that regardless of the material used, keeping clothing in circulation is the most powerful way we can reduce our fashion waste. One researcher proposes that we should aim to use each piece of clothing for 100 – 200 wears. This amount of use would help offset the significant pollution created during the production step and would ideally result in a reduction of new clothing production.
Where #30wears asks us to reconsider impulse purchases and consumption as a hobby, 200 wears asks us to revisit our own drawers and closets to experience our weathered, familiar clothing a little differently. Perhaps with more leniency to small deficiencies that can be readily fixed. Clothing ourselves with people and planet in mind is not straightforward. However, wearing things we already own more often and repairing them when they break is within our sphere of control.
When you take your jeans to a Nudie store for repair, they’ll email a reference number and also notify you when the job is ready for pick up. Nudie’s CEO Bryce told me they’d repaired 63,000 jeans in 2016 alone. The repairs to my jeans are all but invisible, by the way. My jeans still look nearly as new as the day I bought them. To do my part to keep these in rotation, I rarely wash them and line dry when I do.
I’d like to see more brands taking responsibility for the quality of their garments beyond the usual two year consumer warranty period here in Australia. Besides Nudie and Patagonia, have you noticed any others offering free lifetime repair?
I spent a recent weekend in the Blue Mountains, a place that sorely reminds me of home (cold, wet, mountainous). Here are a few things I enjoyed and didn’t create any waste.
These tomatoes from the Blackheath Community Farm. We mucked about, picking the last of the scarlet runner beans and removing some tangled netting, then we had a nice tea together. The farm is run by ‘story changing’ digital magazine The Big Fix.
This popcorn was so good. I brought the kernels to the rental and used a pot with a lid to cook it. I had premixed smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast for the topping.
This lovely path in the woods.